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COTA seeks Agenda for Ageing in Victoria

COTA Victoria recently led an alliance of 17 organisations at State Parliament, calling on the Victorian Government to develop a state-wide, bi-partisan strategy for ageing that includes all spheres of government.

The Minister for Disability & Ageing Martin Foley MP welcomed guests, before being joined by notable speakers, including the Age Discrimination Commissioner Dr Kay Patterson AO and former Deputy Prime Minister, Hon Professor Brian Howe AO.

The launch included a panel discussion to hear about the experiences of ageing from community activist Merle Mitchell AM, ageing activist Laura May and the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria’s Marion Lau, facilitated by COTA CEO Ronda Held.

Aged in her 80s, Merle Mitchell articulated the crisis facing our ageing population which she is experiencing.

“We are suffering because of a lack of planning and there is a real danger of not preparing for the future in a world that will have even more older people,” Merle said. “I may not run a marathon, but I still contribute”.

Although only 36-years-old, Laura said it is the experience of supporting her parents, aged in their 70s and living with a disability, that has her grasping for better systems that support the individual as they grow older.

“Ageing just makes everything more complicated. It’s like going through a maze and getting to a dead-end before you may find a way. The systems are broken and we largely accept this as the way it has to be,” Laura said. “It’s just not good enough. Not for my parents and not for me.”

Ms Held said COTA and the Alliance members couldn’t agree more, and while an ageing population can bring challenges like those facing Merle, Laura and Laura’s parents, Dawn and Peter, it was ripe for all parties to embrace the opportunities to create a vision for a full life for our entire lives.

“By 2031, almost one in every four Victorians will be aged over 60 and in rural and regional communities this figure will be as high as one in three. That’s only 13 years away. We need a vision and an action agenda developed now,” Ms Held said.

“We challenge all the parties to include policies and programs in their election platforms that will keep our older population contributing to communities and the economy. The increasing numbers of older people will create new markets for innovation in products and services.

“We should embrace the economic and social opportunities modern ageing can bring. A plan for ageing in Victoria will generate creative ideas and solutions so that older people can thrive and continue to contribute to society”.

Ms Held said the Alliance was looking forward to working with all parties to address the challenges and identify the opportunities arising from the greater longevity of our population.

To read more go to Agenda for Ageing.

The Agenda for Ageing is supported by the following alliance of organisations:

Council on the Ageing Victoria (including Seniors Rights Victoria), Health Issues Centre, Carers Victoria, Victorian Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Organisation, Victorian Council of Social Services, National Ageing Research Institute, Ethnic Communities Council Victoria, Housing for the Aged Action Group, Consumer Action Law Centre, Financial and Consumer Rights Council, VCTA – Victorian Community Transport Association, Victoria Walks, Dementia Victoria, Palliative Care Victoria, Val’s LGBTI Ageing & Aged Care (GLHV), Fair Go For Pensioners, Residents of Retirement Villages Victoria and Mental Health Victoria.

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